I know I’ve been promising a recap of our trip to the American Girl store in Atlanta, and I figured the fact that I’m already back in Atlanta (Type-A Parent Conference – Woo!) signals that I need to get on that. My daughter has now associated Atlanta with American Girl and has no clue how big the city really is… and thinks that me being in town means I am heading to the store without her (not true… at least not this trip.)
Before we headed down, I spent some time online researching the Atlanta American Girl store and North Point Mall (where the store is located). I wanted to be prepared for what I was walking in to (potentially Armageddon) and knowing the layout of the store and what serives/experiences were available there was super important to me. I wanted not only the girl’s expectations to be properly set, but my own as well.
The first thing we hit when we walked in the door was an amazing – amazing – selection of books. As the mom of a nearly 7 year old, this made me happy, very happy! I want very much for my daughter to develop the love of reading that I found and having the books there in such a huge way had an impact for me. Now, we didn’t leave the store with a book, and that’s ok. There’s a large book purchase coming in our future (thank you eBay!)
Just past the books, the dolls. Oh, the dolls. There are SO many of them. I wish we had an unlimited budget… not just for the girl, but for me too. I would love to have my own… and yes, I know that sounds a little ridiculous to some of you – that a thirty something mom wants an American Girl doll, but I think it would be totally cool to have one that looks like me.
The displays were so awesome! The girl and I both loved looking at all of the set ups, picking out her favorite parts, and comparing the various sets in person. Since she has a My American Girl verses one of the characters, we aren’t trying to collect a certain line or anything like that, so we really get to shop and compare which sets fit her likes and wants.
This little bistro set was total cuteness. I really wanted her to like it. She did, but it wasn’t her favorite. I kind of want a real one for my patio.
When we first walked in, it was just after 10 AM. By 10:30, it was CROWDED. For real, my claustrophobia issues were kicking in. The kids in the store, my kid too, were all over the place. Crazy, bouncing from one display to the next, and barely stopping to breath. This car though, it stopped them all dead in their tracks. It was nearly $400. It kind of stopped me in my tracks too.
As crowded as it was, the store was very organized and very, very well staffed. I had no problems getting assistance when and where we needed it. I was charged with picking up an order for a friend back home while I was there… she called ahead, placed her order and paid for it over the phone… all I had to do was let the cashier know that I had an order to pick up, they checked my ID and brought out the bagged, ready to go package super quick.
While there was a fair amount of product stashed away behind plexiglass, there was also plenty of opportunities to touch, feel and explore various American Girl products. The girl loved so much of the product being out for her to explore and I appreciated the fact that she could get a good look at things before we bought anything. I very much want to avoid getting something home and getting something out of the package and not being satisfied by it.
The Salon at the American Girl store was a hot spot. We had to wait in line about 15 minutes just to make our appointment for Maddison (the girl’s doll) to get her ears pierced. Yes, we got the doll’s ears pierced. The girl also wanted her to get a spa treatment, but time didn’t really allow for that (nor did my patience at that point – did I mention the crowd?)
What does your daughter like to do? Does she play piano? Soccer? Does she like to cook? There is probably a set, outfit or something else to make your girl’s doll special to her. That was a big part of why we decided to go with the My American Girl verses any of the other dolls or historical characters.
All in all, we had a great time at the store, even though it was a little stressful for me. It was definitely overwhelming, but totally worth it. Here are a few tips, that I think are super important if you want to plan a trip of your own…
2. Know your child – Take the time to browse the American Girl site online to see what types of products you’re going to see in the store and what the prices are, then sit down with your daughter and go through those options with her. Let her make a wish list.
3. Set a budget – Know what you’re ok spending before you go. Seriously, overwhelming. The money factor alone is enough to send you over the edge… if you aren’t prepared. Make sure you communicate your budget to your daughter before you go as well. American Girl has been a good economics lesson for us.
4. Arrive early and plan to be there for a while – This is an at least half day adventure. At least. If you have an indecisive child like mine, it may be an even longer trip for you. I think we were in the store for about 5 hours. Of yes, 5 hours.
Even after 5 hours in the store, I had to run back in and buy “just one more thing, mom!” The girl needed a carrying bag for her dolls (Really, I didn’t want to carry one of them around all day, and it seemed worth the money at the time) and I made a solo trip back into the store to grab it for her. This trip was totally worth it. Aside from the look on her face when she got to pick out her doll’s new bed and bathtub, the smiles I’ve seen since bringing the goods home has made it all the better. If you’ve considered making the trip to an American Girl store, DO IT. I’m actually looking forward to checking out the DC store on a kidless trip I’m taking in November.
And, for the record, this is a completely unsponsored, unsolicited post. American Girl doesn’t know me from you (even though it would be pretty cool if they did!)